Witness to Historical Events

Top Five is a show where the hosts categorize, rank, compare, and stratify everything… from cars to gadgets to people and movies. From stuff that is hot, and things that are not nearly as interesting – it’s Top Five.

A listener asked, “If you could travel back in time, what historical events would you want to witness?” A good question, with five answers from each of the hosts.

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About Author

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment. You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...


  1. Started with the masterpiece that is Critical Hit, ran out of episodes, and quickly found the perfection of the rest of your podcast lineup. You make my morning commute, work day, and downtime something I look forward to. Thank you Major Spoilers, I adore each and every single last one of you, and truly appreciate your dedication.

  2. in 2009 forensic scientist and one-time NSA analyst named Phil Mellinger claimed to have a process to recover the 18.5 min gap, not from the actual tape, but by reconstructing HR Haldeman’s meticulous notes/paper impressions CSI Style.

    This made a lot of headlines at the time…but no firm data emerged. Most theories are that the conversation implicates Nixon’s covert sabotage of Vietnam peace talks to help his 1968 campaign. My personal favorite is that Nixon implicates Watergate burglar and known spook E. Howard Hunt in carrying out that ‘Whole Bay of Pigs Thing’ Nixon refers to this throughout the tapes, and some theorize that the ‘Whole Bay of Pigs Thing’ is Nixon’s code phrase for the Kennedy Hit.

    5. Any one of the days when Jack Kirby was in ‘The Zone’. I’d love to just sit quietly and watch the man work on one of those days when he was putting out 8-10 pages a day.

    4. The site and day of the Roswell Crash – See what really happened there with UFOs the Miitary Industrial Complex, etc, etc.

    3.The discovery of the Wheel, or control of Fire…Just to see that lightbulb go on for a primitive man or woman, when they figured out they can alter their own universe using technology. We take such things for granted now…

    2. The Coming Down of the Berlin Wall 1989 – The end of the Cold War was such a big deal. I’d love to be there with a sledge hammer, pounding away at one of the iconic symbols of oppression and totalitarianism.

    1. Election Day, November 22, 1963 – When at least three votes were cast, either from the Texas Book Depository, or from the Grassy Knoll to elect Lyndon B. Johnson President of the US. I’d like to be near the knoll, and with the foreknowledge of what would come, to look in the right places to determine the answer to one of the 20th centuries great mysteries.

  3. 5) The creation of the 2nd Amendment, and what it was really meant for
    4) Kennedy Assassination
    3) Noah’s Ark – Fiction or fact
    2) 10 Commanments – Fiction or fact
    1) “Birth” of Jesus – Fiction or fact

    • the birth of Jesus is not a real debatable event. Both Jewish, Roman, and Christian sources talk about Jesus of Nazareth.. The resurrection of Jesus is the critical event in Christian faith. If Jesus actually rose from the dead (full disclosure, I believe he did) then EVERYTHING in your life would have to change. If Jesus rose from the dead, then he actually is God. I understand that people don’t believe, but it is the most important event in world history imo.

  4. Great show! Mathew, you do know there is a rumor floating that MANY episodes of Doctor Who were recently found in Africa and that the BBC are sitting on them until closer to the 50th next month to announce it. There have been any hoaxes over the years, but here is hoping for some rediscovered Hartnell and Troughton (my favorite Doctor).

    As for events I would like to see:

    5) Oh to be a fly on the wall when Bush Jr. and his band of criminals stole the Gore election. Just witness exactly how they did it would be fascinating and sickening all at the same time. Talk about seeing when things went wrong…

    4) To be witness to the Roswell crash would be all kinds of awesome.

    3) I would love to see Harry Houdini perform one of his great escapes, any of them. Talk about something to witness.

    2) Lou Gehrig giving is retirement speech at Yankee Stadium. One of the greatest (and saddest) sports events in history.

    1) As a card carrying lefty and admirer of the great Dr. King, I would love to be present to hear the “I Have a Dream,” speech. The hope and vision expressed in those words…

    • Please don’t bring politics here. This is the one place that I enjoy without any left / right crap. I fully respect your right to political opinion, but pretty please with sugar in top, don’t bring it here.

        • The thing is, people are much more prone to get into arguments online about politics. Especially when they use language that you did above about our former president. I would tell someone to please change their tone if they said something to the effect of, “I wanna meet Jesus so that I can shut the mouths of those paganistic heathens who are all going to hell!!!” because that is language that ONLY makes people mad and does not promote discussion. If you wanna say, “well, I’m a democrat, so I would love to go back and met JFK because I think he’s the bee’s knees.” No one would get upset by that. It’s just that your tone above is not something we need here on a site that is about comics and pop culture, this is not reddit or a site linked by drudge.

  5. First off, an amazingly insightful episode. Now here are my top 5 historical moments I would like to witness.

    5. The release of Action Comics #1 from April 1938, for obvious reasons now but really for this reason: I only recently got into comics, only about 2 or three years ago, all because of the Major Spoilers Crew, and It would be a wonderful experience to witness it from the beginning, the real start of the “obsession” known as comic books.

    4. Ronald Reagan’s speech and in turn the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. I was alive during this time but was less than a year old, and being one of those people who like to learn about WWII this would be an interesting thing to witness first hand being at the speech of the famous line “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” and the subsequent tearing down of the wall.

    3. Super Bowl I. I am a huge Green Bay Packer fan and with this being the first super bowl and the first Packer super bowl win, I would absolutely love to attend this game

    2. The theater release of Star Wars…Empire….and Jedi. My favorite trilogy created, and is one of those things that make me regret being so young. to get to see even one of these movies on opening day would be a dream come true.

    1. The life of Jesus Christ. I personally believe that Jesus is the son of God and would like to see the miracles so that I could come back and know 100% for sure and tell people, truthfully, that I was an eye-witness account.

    alsorands – investing in microsoft/apple; Roswell; every moment that I wish I could go back and smack myself upside the head and ask “what are you thinking”

  6. Great episode, as always guy. I do love when we get into these sort of personal, insightful lists.

    5) This is a wide-spanning thought, but I’d love to be able to travel through time and witness the moments of great invention, or realization. Flight, film, telephone, electricity, fire, the wheel, writing, etc. I want to see those moments of “a-ha!” and see those visionaries in their moment of triumph or discovery.

    4) As horrific a moment in our lifetime as it was, I have a strange fascination with those moments when the first plane hit the World Trade Center in 2001. To stand on those floors as it hits, to see it first hand, is something I think about whenever Sept. 11 comes around each year. I’ve watched the documentary of the two brothers who were shooting the 9/11 film – and seeing that, I would want to have been able to walk around (assuming invulnerable state) while the destruction was happening. It’s morbid, I know, but I get choked up every time I watch that film or snippets of the coverage from that day.

    3) I would love to sit in the room during the conversations and arguments as the original Bill of Rights was being written. So many people today have no problem saying this is what the framers of our nation had in mind when they wrote those words down on paper the first time – I want to know exactly what they thought and what they talked about. Did they even foresee what was to come based on the words they were simply writing down to defy King George III and colonial rule.

    2) Like Rodrigo, I would love to be standing there at the moment the asteroid hit and wiped out almost all life on our planet those many millions of years ago. To see what exactly happened to the dinosaurs, and how it paved way for our own existence. To be able to walk around and see the after-effects of such an event.

    1) I had thought of this before seeing the other comments in this thread, so I’m glad it’s in tune with what others had thought – though mine is from another belief. I’m an atheist, and as such I would love to go back in time and witness the moment the Bible was first created. To see and hear the thought process of what an individual or group of individuals put into setting forth a list of principles, faiths, stories, and guidelines that would shape an entire belief system that people hold so very dearly to and shape their own lives around. As an atheist, I have no problem with the Bible being some sort of “rulebook” to live a life a certain way, while I don’t believe in God or the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I believe someone did live during a time that was one of those individuals who shaped the beliefs of others around him so profoundly.

    • Just in case you didn’t know, for your number 1, no Christian believes that the Bible was written by 1 person who shaped the entirety of the Christian faith (that is more characteristic of Islam). Would you be more interested to witness an event described in the Bible? Or would you be more interested to sit in on the councils of the early church where they discussed the canonization of the Biblical texts? I’m interested to know what you think! I would think that an atheist would want to know if Jesus was a real man and if he really rose from the dead. That would be the moment that would either solidify your atheism or force you to change your mind. I’ve got no issue with atheists, but for those that are actually open to talk about a subject like this, I’m honestly interested to know what you think about that!

      • Since I don’t know that Jesus was actually an individual that existed, it’s hard to say I’d want to be there at the time of his crucifixion, or his resurrection. Like I said, I believe that there was someone during a period of the world that was a leader, someone who had the interests of the people around him who tried to make their lives better.

        I guess I’d like to know when it started – where the idea came from to create a book that would lay down edicts that dictated how people should live their lives. Much like the Bill of Rights and the framers of the country, I’d want to know if today’s society and view on things (same-sex couples, women in leadership positions of the church, evolution vs. creationism, etc.) at that time even came across their thought process.

        I don’t believe one person wrote the Bible either, but the idea started somewhere (in my mind) – I’d love to see that evolution.

        • Thanks for the great reply!

          As Jared wrote below, there is MUCH evidence from Christian, Jewish, and Roman sources that speak of the man known as Jesus of Nazareth. If that evidence is not enough to show that Jesus actually existed, then we actually can not be convinced of ANY historical person/event prior to probably the invention of the printing press. That does NOT mean that the evidence for the resurrection is AS strong. I believe there is compelling evidence for the resurrection, which is why I’m a Christian, but I 100% understand people who just will not accept that the supernatural exists. That is where faith comes in to play the works alongside of the evidence that is there during the time of the early church and beyond.

          I don’t quite know if you know that no one said, “Let’s make a book that tells people about what we believe.” The creation of the Christian canon that we call the Bible is more of a recognition (and compilation) of the literature that everyone in the early church recognized as being written by the apostles/people who interacted with Jesus personally. This is why the Gnostic gospels of Thomas/Mary/etc are NOT included in the canon, because manuscript and theological evidence points to them being written in the late 2nd century by a group of people called the Gnostics, who did not believe in any of the teachings held by the early church fathers/apostles/ad the current church.

          Finally, in regards to their understanding of homosexuality, women in leadership, and evolution, it is very clear that the Jewish world in the 1st century believed homosexuality was a sin and a distortion of the created order, that God was the creator of all things according to the Genesis account, and that men were the leaders of society. Whether you agree or disagree with their stances does not change the fact that they believed these things. There is compelling argumentation that all three of those stances are logical, Biblical, and proper for our understanding of the world. Again, I respect and understand people who disagree, but I am a Christian and I agree with the Bible, not with post-modern thought and morality.

          Sorry for the long post. I LOVE talking about this stuff! It’s also great to be able to dialogue online with people when it does not devolve into fighting, name-calling, and accusations of bigotry, hate, or ignorance. We can discuss like adults and listen to each other and learn.

          I hope this was informative and also encourages you to respond because, again, I love talking about this stuff. It’s interesting to me!

          • I appreciate the information and knowledge; I’m certainly willing to listen and mildly debate. It can’t go much past mild debate because at the end of the day, I believe what I believe and others believe what they believe. My atheism is based on life events that shaped my faith, my view of the world and existence.

            I’m also not afraid to say, “look, I just don’t know.”

            I will say this – I refuse to put my faith in something or someone that is not willing to bend, nor willing to accept that the world has changed over a number of centuries and that this is what we have now. In my opinion, it’s accepted and practiced prejudice, which shouldn’t exist on any level.

  7. 5. Sexual episode that conceived Hitler.
    4. 69 Miracle Mets season.
    3. Young Mozart performing for the Pope followed by him writing down the sacred Chorus not allowed to leave the Vatican.
    2. Signing of the Declaration of Independence
    1. The resurrection of Christ. I’ll take the 3 years of his ministry and follow.

  8. 5: What actually happened to my Dad when he went to Europe in his 20’s. My father spent time in Western Europe from some point in 1970 to some point in 1980. He won’t admit or does not remember what happened. And I want to know what did happen
    4: The Tunguska Event already covered by you guys and why I’d like to be their
    3: These dates in London, August 31st 1888, September 8th 1888, September 30th 1888, November 9th 1888. Good old Jacks 5 canonical killings. I want too know the mystery that surrounds the first serial killer, the myth who else did he or she kill. Did s/he take any other lives? I want too know the answers too this mystery
    2: The points when various Lost Treasures went missing. But if I were to pick just one. The Amber Room the original Amber Room not that miniaturized imitation based on the original
    1: The day when the most recent change to the security to enter the Vatican’s Secret Vaults were changed, just so I may get inside and see those wonders… And get them back to their rightful owners and held feed those hungry they keep complaining about

  9. Just listen to the episode.. I know I’m behind but Hey! I thought it was funny to see that almost all the events was something that happen in The US or that involved Americans (yes even the killings of the dinos is effecting the US)

    5. Roswell
    For the obvious reason: to see what really happen

    4. Renaissance Italy
    Travel around Italy in this period to see the great cities of Florence, Venice and Rome.

    3. Medieval French during the 100 Year war
    To see a real life great battle between the French and The British.

    2. Ancient Rome
    Travel along side the great conquer around the ancient world. To see Rome, Greece, Persia and Egypt.

    1. Ancient Egypt
    To see one of my favorite pharaohs Ramses II and explore his mighty empire.

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